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The Return of the Four-Inch Foulard

March 27, 1986

You guys who have been laughed at for hanging on to those old wide ties in a world where narrow neckwear is king may have the last laugh, after all. Skinny ties, which have been the trendy statement of the '80s, are now being upstaged by the latest fashion wave: blatantly wide (sometimes more than four inches) ties that spread proudly across a man's chest.

"The look is very light; it tends to be more sloppy," says tie designer Stephen Sotnick, whose 4-inch-wide ties in tapestry and paisley patterns go particularly well with the new unconstructed linen and cotton blazers. Part of the reason for wider ties, he says, is fashion's new focus on flashy patterns. "You can't put a pattern on a skinny tie," Sotnick says.

These new ties differ from the old "belly warmers" of the late '70s, though, both in their free, unconstructed shapes and their tight, bottlenecked knots. "It's definitely a '60s influence," says Scott Hill, general manager of Ron Ross in Tarzana. "I've had them for about a year, but they've just started to take hold in America in the past three or four months."

"More customers are understanding it," says Rick Pallack, whose Sherman Oaks store sells about 2,000 ties a month, only about 5% of them wide. "It's for that very fashion-conscious customer who wears unconstructed linen suits."

And it's for the man who doesn't mind a bit of devil-may-care dash at his throat. As Sotnick points out emphatically: "They will flow in the breeze."

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